On the sunny morning of their big day, seniors leapt up the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, caps and gowns in hand, for Commencement and their last hours altogether as members of the Class of 2017.
With family, friends, faculty, and staff looking on proudly, more than 20 graduates were recognized with awards for their outstanding achievements and contributions to our school ― and all 74 received their well-earned diplomas. This moment was a milestone in their lives and in Dwight's history, marking the 145th graduation ceremony celebrating the achievements of students.
Amanda Hartman and Jacqueline Hahn each played beautiful violin pieces, sharing their musical sparks of genius during the exercises, which included three student speeches by Valedictorian Jayashanmugapriya Jayaveerapandian, Salutatorian Lotte Paulis, and Dwight Global Online School student Yara Shahidi. They recounted challenges, triumphs, and experiences they shared and said good-bye to their classmates with addresses that were inspiring, humorous, and deeply moving. The speakers reflected on the unique journey they took together as a class; the unflagging support they received from faculty and staff throughout their IB academic careers; and the diversity of people, cultures, and insights found in our global community.
In his final words to the graduating class, Chancellor Stephen Spahn said:
"Today also marks a personal milestone, as this is my 50th year at Dwight. While so much has changed in five decades, one of the privileges I have as Chancellor is to bid farewell and congratulate, each one of our graduates.
At Dwight, you have embraced the IB mission to become morally and societally responsible individuals. In addition, our school's spark of genius ethos has encouraged and challenged you to harness the energy of your passions to build a better world.
The world that awaits needs your talents, knowledge, and creativity. And the fine colleges and universities that will welcome you this fall are expecting you to be leaders and innovators, just as you have been on our campus.
You have passed through Dwight's "School of Spirits" doors for the last time as a student. These iconic doors were constructed deliberately to be heavy and require effort to be opened, so that all who entered did so with a purpose ― to learn and embrace knowledge. In keeping with their message, never stop endeavoring to learn.
Never stop challenging yourself. Take risks. Always keep your spark of genius alive.
You have been prepared well at school and by your families to succeed and thrive anywhere you go in this world. And remember that wherever life takes you, you'll always have a home at Dwight. We look forward to seeing you enter our "School of Spirits" doors once again as alumni. Until then, good luck!
With diplomas in hand, the time had come for students to turn their tassels from right to left, symbolizing the crossing from high school to the next exciting stage in their lives. They are headed to top colleges and universities this coming fall ― and to many great things in the future!